Scott Thompson: Kinder Morgan pipeline debate more about extremism than the environment

Scott Thompson: Kinder Morgan pipeline debate more about extremism than the environment
In the news today, April 16
Speaker of the House Geoff Regan in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Wednesday, March 22, 2017. The Conservatives today will ask for an emergency debate on the Trans Mountain pipeline situation.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – The opposition Conservatives today will again ask for an emergency debate in the Commons on the Trans Mountain pipeline situation.

It is second time in two months the Conservatives have tried to get House Speaker Geoff Regan to agree the pipeline expansion situation merits a special debate to discuss the economic hit Canada will take and the plunging confidence investors have in this country as it struggles to get the big project off the ground.

In February, Regans office denied the request, saying it did not meet the criteria for an emergency debate but the Tories are asking again now that the company has halted all non-essential spending on the pipeline while Ottawa tries to reassure its investors that the project will move forward despite opposition from the government of British Columbia.

It has been a week since Kinder Morgan announced it was halting all non-essential spending on the plan to build a second, bigger pipeline parallel to the existing one between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C. The company gave the Trudeau government until the end of May to reassure its investors the pipeline would be built, despite mounting opposition.

Conservative natural resources critic Shannon Stubbs wrote Friday to Regan giving notice, but will formally request the debate today.

Indeed, knowledge is limited when it comes to how diluted bitumen—known colloquially as dilbit—interacts with water, and how best to contain and clean it up. Dilbit spilled into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River from an Enbridge pipeline in 2010 cost billions to clean up, with parts of the river closed for years afterwards.

This comes a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dispatched his finance minister to find a financial arrangement with pipeline builder Kinder Morgan to overcome investor jitters.

Notley said legislation to allow Alberta to cut oil supplies to B.C., sure to send gas prices there soaring, would be introduced in the legislature this week. Horgan said a court challenge testing whether B.C. has the jurisdiction to regulate what can and can’t flow through the expansion will proceed before the end of the month.

Trudeau Fails to Ease Provincial Rift Over Kinder Pipeline

Trudeau is also looking at introducing legislation to reassert federal jurisdiction over the pipeline and says he is open to making additional environmental protections to satisfy British Columbia its coastline will be safe from an oil spill.

As such, Trudeau said he has instructed Finance Minister Bill Morneau to sit down with Kinder Morgan to find a financial solution that will soothe their investors. He also promised legislation that would reaffirm Ottawa’s authority to press ahead with a development deemed to be in Canada’s national interest.
In the news today, April 16
In the news today, April 16

The opposition Conservatives today will again ask for an emergency debate in the Commons on the Trans Mountain pipeline situation.

Trudeau pledges money, new law to make Trans Mountain happen, without details
Trudeau pledges money, new law to make Trans Mountain happen, without details

UBC law professor questions Ottawas jurisdiction on planned pipeline expansion

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Horgan’s election last year changed that. His minority government exists at the pleasure of the Green party, and on condition of his continued opposition to the project. Trudeau made it clear Sunday that Horgan and his government are the ones wholly responsible for the impasse.
Sunday summit: PM pledges money, new law to make Trans Mountain happen
Sunday summit: PM pledges money, new law to make Trans Mountain happen

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has instructed his finance minister to enter negotiations with Kinder Morgan to remove the uncertainty hanging over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Trudeau also says federal legislation is coming that will reassert and reinforce the fact that the federal government is well within its jurisdiction to approve the $7.4 billion project and ensure it goes ahead.

Finally, he says hes willing to expand and improve upon his governments $1.5 billion oceans protection plan in an effort to ensure the most stringent protections are available to reassure British Columbia its coasts are not at risk.

The prime minister will also meet Michaelle Jean, the former governor general of Canada who is now head of the Francophonie, as well as the head of French aerospace giant Airbus, which has partnered with Canadian counterpart Bombardier on the latters C Series passenger planes.

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Hes offering few details, however, saying the negotiations will not take place in public. Despite that, it is the most concrete Trudeau has been yet about how his government intends to solve the impasse that led Kinder Morgan to suspend all non-essential spending on the expansion project pending reassurance from Ottawa the pipeline will be able to go forward.

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has arrived in France as he continues more than a week of globetrotting following a brief stop in Ottawa Sunday to discuss the Trans Mountain pipeline crisis with the premiers of Alberta and British Columbia.

Ideally, we wouldnt be in this situation right now, Trudeau told a news conference Sunday after a closely watched, last-minute meeting with B.C. Premier John Horgan, who is blocking the project, and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who desperately wants to see it go ahead.

The two leaders are also expected to talk about Mali, where France has been leading a counter-terrorism mission for several years and where Canada is preparing to send six military helicopters to help with the local UN peacekeeping mission.

Video: Canadian PM Trudeau visits France, aiming to boost trade ties

Trudeau would not go as far as others to call the pipeline impasse a constitutional crisis but laid all the blame for the situation at Horgans feet. The pipeline was approved in 2016 with the support of the former B.C. Liberal government of Christy Clark. Horgan defeated Clark in an election last year.

The visit comes only days after France joined Britain and the U.S. in launching airstrikes against the Syrian government for an alleged chemical-weapon attack this month that killed at least 40 people and left hundreds more injured.

I dont think its any surprise to anyone that I dont think we would be in this situation if the British Columbia government hadnt continued to emphasize its opposition to the project, Trudeau said. That is why we are at this point right now.

With that highly charged meeting now out of the way, Trudeau will turn his attention to what will be his first official visit to France, where hell meet with President Emmanuel Macron and address the National Assembly.

Although both Horgan and Notley came out of the meeting saying it was collegial and cooperative, neither is coming out of their entrenchments. Horgan said the promised court reference question to verify what jurisdiction, if any, B.C. has over the pipeline and its contents, is coming within days.

Trudeau has voiced support for the joint airstrikes. He will have a chance to discuss Syria and Russia, which has emerged as Syrian President Bashar Assads strongest backer, when he meets with Macron on Monday.

He said hed hoped to have it done earlier but these questions are complicated and take time to put together right.

On Tuesday, Trudeau will become the first Canadian prime minister to address the French National Assembly and the most recent leader to be given that rare opportunity since King Felipe of Spain in June 2015.

Bell: Trudeau and his less-than-ideal pipeline Plan B

Notley said legislation she promised that will allow it to alter flows of oil through the existing Trans Mountain pipeline into B.C. is going to be introduced in the Alberta legislature this week. Analysts suggest that could hike gas prices in the Lower Mainland over $2 per litre and would have an immediate, economy-wide impact on the province.

That could go on for well over a year, and we effectively have until the end of May when the board of Kinder Morgan will make a decision as to whether to go ahead, and the strategy of the B.C. government has been to kill the project by delay, Beatty said. It would not necessarily just be the federal government, Alberta and British Columbia that are parties to it. Other provinces and interested groups could also decide to join and make the process even lengthier.

Trudeau said while his government is committed to working with both premiers to find a solution, we must recognize that they remain at an impasse which only the government of Canada has the capacity and the authority to resolve.

What is amazing to me is that theres so much mythology thats part of the discourse — a lot of it coming from Rachel Notley, but some things are being parroted in the mainstream media analysis about what the various governments can or cannot do, said Lee, who is also co-director of the Climate Justice Project, a research partnership with the University of British Columbias School of Community and Regional Planning.

The legislation is expected to reassert, in addition to the Constitution, Ottawas authority over pipelines. This is a bid to try and take the wind out the sails of Horgans court challenge.

Pipeline conflict tests Trudeaus tenets

Financially the government has options that include assuming some of the investors risk or finding a way to guarantee investor returns on schedule. Trudeau said he is not ready to say Canada is buying the pipeline outright or even putting in an equity stake. He said whatever financial arrangement is reached will include protections for taxpayers.

Video: Trudeau pledges to push Trans Mountain pipe line forward

We engaged in financial discussions with the pipeline owner, Kinder Morgan, he said. This is a series of discussions that are happening in Calgary, Toronto, Houston and New York. They wont happen in public. As soon as we have something to announce I promise you we will let you know.

Horgan said hed received assurances from Trudeau that he would not punish British Columbians over their governments objections, meaning Ottawa isnt going to be withholding federal funds from B.C. in an effort to get the Horgan government on side.

This stuff about Alberta blocking oil shipments going to British Columbia is just utter garbage. The province of Alberta is not a shipper on that pipeline, so theres no oil it can hold back. To do so would require all the companies to collude together, which seems completely contrary to the political culture there, much less the business interests at stake.

Trudeau said he is also willing to discuss with Horgan additional environmental protections that could give B.C. confidence over its shorelines and marine environments, but accused Horgan of refusing to tell him for nearly a year what gaps Horgan feels exist in the existing or promised protections under the Oceans Protections Plan.

In an open letter on Saturday, Jean-Marc Fournier, Quebecs minister responsible for Canadian relations, wrote that the recent assertions of federal representatives regarding the Trans Mountain pipeline, which refer to an exclusive application of federal rules, are detrimental to a proper resolution of this issue and raise concerns for the future.

Trudeau said recently he would not have approved the pipeline if he wasnt convinced the environment was protected and said he has been consistent for years that he believes the environment and the economy go together and can both be managed for the benefit of all Canadians.

That is exactly what we are doing, he said of the Trans Mountain salvage plan. We are simply demonstrating the resolve to actually deliver on that promise to Canadians.

Beatty said the Trudeau government should introduce a motion in the House of Commons that would seek an affirmation by all members of Parliament that this project is in the national interest, and that the federal government is instructed to take any appropriate measures to ensure that the project moves ahead without further delay.

John Horgan To Keep Blocking Trans Mountain After Meeting With Justin Trudeau, Rachel Notley

Trudeau also said all of this is being done with a view to allowing Kinder Morgan to proceed on schedule. Construction on the pipeline expansion itself has yet to begin and needs to start by the end of May if the companys plan to get the oil flowing through it by the end of 2020 is to work.

Albertas oil producers encouraged by promises of action on Trans Mountain project

Hence why May 31 is also the deadline the company gave the government to restore investor confidence in the project.

Notley seemed quite happy with the outcome of the meeting and said she is confident the nature of the financial discussions taking place with Kinder Morgan will be enough to overcome investor concerns.

Canadas Trudeau defends pipeline project

Im quite confident that should these discussions end successfully, that the pipeline will be built _ and that is good, because the pipeline is in the national interest.

Horgans news conference was barely over before Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was at the podium, laying the blame for the impasse squarely at the prime ministers feet.

Trudeau: New legislation will make Trans Mountain happen

His damaging policies … have only led to more uncertainty and instability in Canadas resource sector, Scheer said.

The energy sector, Scheer said, is now convinced that Justin Trudeau does not want their business in Canada.

We are going to get the pipeline built: Trudeau begins federal talks with Kinder Morgan to guarantee Trans Mountain

Trudeaus cabinet approved the pipeline in 2016, following an interim environmental review process that included assessing things such as the emissions that will be created from producing additional fossil fuels that will flow through it. The cabinet decided the project, which will build a new pipeline that runs parallel to an existing one but can carry twice as much, was in the national interest.

The meeting, convened at the last minute Thursday as Trudeau was departing for the Summit of the Americas in Peru, marked the first time the three leaders have all been in the same room together to hash out the dispute.

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Canadas Trudeau pledges money, new law pipeline happen

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The Kinder Morgan pipeline meeting in three key quotes

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